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John Hoffman, DU


I was raised in Virginia by Southern parents, so I know grits. Dad’s grits were flavorless until you buried them in butter and syrup. By comparison, many of the grits you’ll find in restaurants today are almost identical to soft, creamy polenta. If you’re ever anywhere near Charleston, South Carolina, and you don’t try the shrimp and grits at Magnolias restaurant, you’re missing out.

Your local market might stock anything from instant grits to quick grits to stone-ground grits. Though they take much longer to cook, I think stone-ground grits have the best texture and flavor. Some purists still mix their grits with water, but I prefer using chicken broth. My basic preparation starts with 6 cups of chicken broth, a little butter, and two cups of grits. Stir them often, and as they thicken, add cream and grated cheese and continue to stir until smooth.

Although grits are most often paired with shellfish, they are just as delicious when topped with perfectly cooked teal breast fillets. To avoid the messy liquid that leaches out of cooked meat and mixes with the grits, it’s best to air-dry the breast fillets, uncovered, in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before cooking. As with most other ducks, you should save the legs and carcasses to make a delicious duck stock.

Teal with Grits

INGREDIENTS - Yields: 4 servings

The Grits

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups stone-ground grits (if using quick grits, follow the package directions)
  • 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar, Parmesan, or Gruyère cheese
  • Salt to taste

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John Hoffman, DU

For the best flavor and texture, use stone-ground grits prepared with chicken broth, butter, cheese, and cream.


The Teal

  • 8 teal breast fillets, preferably with skin intact
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


The Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup diced bacon, tasso ham, or prosciutto
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper, any color
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Dash hot sauce (optional)

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John Hoffman, DU


  1. To prepare the grits, bring the chicken broth and butter to a boil in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir in grits, a little at a time, and reduce heat to low. Stir often until grits thicken, about 20 minutes. Then stir in heavy cream and cheese. Continue to stir until grits are smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt.
  2. Rub teal breast fillets with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add teal, skin side down. Cook until the skin is crisp. Flip over and cook another 2 minutes, and transfer to paper towels to drain.
  3. In the same skillet over medium-high heat, add butter, bacon,
    onion, and bell pepper. Cook until bacon is done. Add garlic and sprinkle flour over contents of skillet. Cook while stirring for 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, bring to a boil, and reduce liquid by one-third. Add hot sauce, if desired. Return teal breast fillets to the skillet to warm.
  4. To serve, remove the teal breast fillets from the skillet and slice each one into 4 or 5 slices. Mound grits in shallow bowls, spoon the sauce around the outside of the grits, and arrange teal on top of the grits.